Knowing what to do after a semi-truck accident is important if you want to maximize your chances of a successful compensation claim that allows you to recover your damages and pursue fair compensation. If you have already been involved in an accident and you are unsure of what to do next, you should make sure you seek medical attention and contact an experienced truck accident lawyer immediately.
If you are at the scene of the accident, here is what you should do to ensure your safety and protect yourself from assuming liability for the accident.
Priority Number 1 – Your Own Safety!
First and foremost, nothing is as important as your safety and wellbeing. After a crash, you should always take stock of your injuries. The first thing you must consider is whether or not you have hit your head or suffered spinal damage. Try not to move until you have thought back on what happened. If you remember hitting your head or suffering whiplash, and/or you feel pain in your neck, shoulders, back or head, you must remain still and wait for the paramedics.
If your injuries allow, you must move away from danger. Before moving, be sure that you have not hit your head or hurt your spine, and you are not at risk of further danger where you are. In traffic accidents, the safest place is always the side of the road and far back from the actual road.
Priority Number 2 – Call for help!
Next, you must call for an ambulance and the police to attend the scene. Even if you believe your injuries and the injuries of the other drivers are not serious enough to demand an ambulance, we recommend calling one anyway. Hidden injuries such as internal bleeding and head trauma, can be masked by adrenaline, lying hidden until too late.
The ambulance team will take over, removing the responsibility from you. They can ensure people receive treatment if they need it and will check everyone over before giving the ok. They will also file an accident report that will help you prove your injuries were caused by an accident. This is part of the personal injury case process and is important in proving negligence.
The police should also be called after all traffic accidents. They can make the roads safe for others and they will also deal with any drivers that are aggressive or that show signs of being drunk or intoxicated. If the driver was intoxicated, the police report and blood alcohol test results are extremely important to obtain if you want to massively increase your chances of a successful claim against the party responsible.
Priority Number 3 – Collect Evidence/Speak to Witnesses/Call Your Attorney!
Once the emergency services have been called and you have made sure you are as safe as possible from further danger, you should now consider collecting evidence if your injuries allow you to do so.
We recommend taking photos and videos of the scene and recording a statement of what happened in your own words. Record a voice statement and you will have a clear report of what happened that will be useful to your attorney and if your memory becomes hazy later on down the line, you can use that to jog your memory.
If you were fortunate enough to have witnesses that wish to help, you should take all of their details, and ask them for a statement. If possible, record this statement, but a written statement will suffice if they are uncomfortable with that.
Now is also a great time to call your attorney so they can get to work. They may send their own investigators to the scene, especially if you have had to receive medical attention and cannot collect evidence yourself. The sooner they get involved, the better their chances of finding evidence like CCTV footage that may be deleted if you delay.
Abraham Watkins – Representation from Texas’ Finest
Due to their very nature, a truck accident is often much more serious than a simple car accident. Semi-trucks take a lot longer to brake, and carry weight and cargo that means they can weigh 30-40x that of a normal passenger vehicle. This means when they hit someone, or something, the impact force is catastrophic, and the chance of fatality, or life-changing injury, is high.
Traumatic accidents like this can leave a victim facing expensive medical bills, long periods of time off work and lost wages, and property damage. The pain and suffering, and mental trauma can also be severe, leaving the victim with lasting emotional scarring.
At Abraham Watkins, we can assign you an experienced truck accident attorney, one with a track record of success in cases involving trucking companies and their drivers.
To schedule your free consultation with an experienced Semi truck accident attorney, call us now at 713-535-9319.
Common Types of Semi-Truck Accidents
There are a huge variety of ways that a semi-truck may be involved in a serious accident. Some of the more common accident types are:
Due to the way that weight is distributed in a semi-truck, hitting a corner too fast can lead to the truck tipping and rolling over. This accident is always extremely dangerous and often kills the truck driver and anyone involved.
Sometimes, these accidents are caused by a lack of due care and attention, a driver under the influence, or reckless driving. However, a rollover may also happen through no fault of the driver, such as icy conditions or extremely high winds.
Semi-trucks come in two parts, the truck and the semi-trailer on the back. This means that there is a pivot point in the middle. When the trailer behind jackknifes, and the trailer moves out from the line of the truck, the results can be catastrophic.
When this happens, the trailer may swing onto the other side of the road at high speed, colliding with other vehicles or crushing pedestrians.
If a driver loses control of their truck while driving on ice or downhill, they may lose the ability to brake without the truck rolling, or they may be moving too fast for the brakes to work at all. When this happens, there is nothing to slow the truck, and this means a high-speed collision with all in its path.
Sometimes the cargo is more dangerous than the truck when an accident happens. If heavy cargo is dislodged and flung out of the truck, it can lead to serious damage. If the truck was carrying hazardous goods, the danger could be even worse.
Common Causes for a Semi-Truck Accident
There are numerous reasons for truck accidents. Some accidents happen because of the truck driver, and some because of other involved parties. Some cases may even be caused by negligent mechanics or defective trucking parts. In some cases, the trucking company may be held responsible, for example, if they were pushing a driver to work past the legal hours without a break.
Some of the most common causes are:
- Distracted driving;
- Falling asleep at the wheel;
- Driving under the influence (DUI);
- Unqualified or dangerous truck driver;
- Inadequate inspection of a truck by trucking companies.
- Poor maintenance of a truck by trucking companies;
- Failure of trucking companies to follow safety regulations;
- Aggressive driving;
- Negligent truck driver; and
- Improper loading or securing of cargo.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a serious truck accident, it is highly recommended that you contact a skilled truck accident attorney that can help you pursue compensation and the recovery of the damages you may have suffered. Our truck accident attorneys have experience handling cases just like yours, and this means we know exactly where to look when assigning liability for serious injuries.
If you are unsure about where the responsibility lies for the accident, an attorney will be able to ask the important questions they need to evaluate your case.
Common Injuries Caused in Truck Accidents
Truck accidents often leave victims with severe, life-changing injuries that require a lifetime of treatment. Here are the common injuries victims suffer:
- Head injuries’
- Spinal cord injuries’
- Traumatic brain injuries’
- Internal organ damage’
- Internal bleeding’
- Neck injuries’
- Back injuries’
- Broken bones and fractures; and
- Bruises, burns, and lacerations.
Who Is Liable for Your Damages
Before your attorney enters negotiations or files a lawsuit, they will need to establish liability, i.e, who is responsible for the accident. This is often a complex process when it comes to truck accidents, as there are multiple parties who may be blamed. The insurance company defending the driver and their employer will only make matters worse as they will be fighting you every step of the way to reduce their payout.
Due to the fact that trucking accidents can result in monumental payouts, your attorney may pursue multiple parties. This is because your damages may exceed their policy limits.
The most common parties that are held responsible in a truck accident case are:
- The truck driver;
- The trucking company;
- A government agency responsible for maintaining the road;
- A mechanic; and
- Manufacturer of parts used.
We have experience in pursuing compensation from each of the parties above, and we have won favorable outcomes for clients against even the toughest of insurance companies.
What Damages Can Be Recovered
Once your attorney has investigated and knows who is to blame for your accident, they will now need to calculate your damages so they have a compensatory figure they can use to negotiate a settlement.
The damages they will usually consider are:
The majority of truck accident victims will need to take time off work for their injuries. Whether this is for recovery or treatment, it will likely result in a loss of income and wages. It is unfair for the victim to miss out on wages due to the negligence of someone else, and your attorney will work to recover all of your lost wages. They will also look to the future, and if you will never be able to return to work, they may pursue a lifetime of lost earning potential.
Medical care is extremely expensive, especially when it comes to catastrophic injuries. Even those that have strong healthcare insurance and/or a high level of personal coverage on their own insurance may find that their costs exceed their coverage before they receive a settlement.
This often leaves victims in a tough spot, but fortunately your attorney can help you recover all medical bills, past, and future. This means all your medical expenses so far will be recoverable in a successful case, from your medical care to your transport and hospital food costs. You should make sure you keep hold of all receipts and bills and document your expenses, as well as your mood and pain levels each day.
After a truck accident, your vehicle is likely to be severely damaged, and you should be compensated for the cost of its repair or replacement.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering damages in a truck accident personal injury case are designed to compensate the injured party for physical and emotional damage related to the accident. Depending on the severity of the accident, damages may include:
- Physical pain: Physical pain covers any physical trauma suffered as a result of the accident, including pain from fractured bones, torn ligaments, and whiplash.
- Mental anguish: Mental anguish covers any psychological distress caused by the accident, such as fear, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Disfigurement: Disfigurement covers any permanent physical changes to the body caused by the accident, such as scars, burns, and amputations.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: Loss of enjoyment of life covers any losses suffered due to the accident, such as the inability to participate in activities previously enjoyed.
- Loss of consortium: Loss of consortium covers any losses suffered by the victim’s family, such as loss of companionship and affection.
In some cases, there may also be additional damages awarded for medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. These damages vary depending on the severity of the accident and the jurisdiction in which the case is being tried.
No amount of financial compensation will ever bring a loved one back that has been killed in a truck accident, but a wrongful death claim can provide financial security and justice to the family for what has happened.
What Is the Average Payout for a Semi-Truck Accident?
There is no average payout for a truck accident, but historically, commercial truck accidents can result in extremely large payments. The more serious your injuries and the more skilled your attorney, the better the payout usually.
Once your attorney has calculated your damages, they may be able to tell you what they believe your case to be worth.
How Much Do Semi-Truck Accident Lawyers Cost?
Here at Abraham Watkins, we are passionate about what we do – providing reliable representation to victims that need us.
To achieve this, we usually work on a contingency fee basis, a fee structure that means there are no upfront costs for our representation. You will not pay to hire us or if we lose your case. We simply agree upon a flat percentage that we will take from your settlement if we win your case.
This means you can pursue your case without worrying about the costs of losing and being left worse off than you began. We take the risk so you can seek compensation with confidence.
We also offer all existing and new clients alike, a free consultation and case evaluation. We know how scary and stressful it can feel being in the aftermath of a serious accident and dealing with injuries. This meeting is a space to ask your questions and have your case evaluated. We will work hard to educate you on your rights and your chances of successfully winning a case. If you agree at this point, we can take over right away.
We respect all of our clients and therefore stick to all of the rules outlined by The State Bar Association closely. The Texas State Bar Association monitors the contingency work of all law firms in Texas.
How Long Do I Have to Act?
Following a truck accident in Texas, you should always act as quickly as possible and speak to an attorney as soon as you can. There is a legal time limit on all claims in Texas, called the Statute of Limitations. Under this statute, you have 2 years from the date of the accident to raise a claim before you forgo the right to raise one relating to that incident in the future.
Besides the legal time limit placed upon you, you should try to involve an attorney as quickly as possible because they will have a better chance of investigating and finding evidence that may be deleted, such as CCTV footage or road markings from the accident.
If you have lost a loved one in a semi-truck accident, you are bound by the same time limit; you have 2 years from the date of the accident.
Texas Semi-Truck Accident FAQ
Texas Semi-Truck Accident FAQ
Usually, if the accident is not your fault, your rates will not increase unless your insurance company has been left out of pocket. If you have recovered all your damages, your insurance should not increase.
Why should you hire a truck accident lawyer?
Due to the historically high payouts following commercial truck accidents, the trucking company’s insurance carrier will most likely have hired the very best attorneys they can find, often a whole team of them. Their sole job is to reduce the payout of the company and this means they spend every day fighting against claims and reducing the payout of victims like you.
By yourself, with no legal training, it is unlikely that you will receive the full and maximum compensation that may be on offer to you following a semi-truck accident.
By hiring an attorney, you level the playing field, especially if you chose an attorney with a strong reputation. Sometimes the difference between whether or not the other party is willing to settle outside of court or not, is the reputation your attorney has for winning trials.
If you are dealing with injuries, you should be focused on your recovery, and pursuing a case that may take several years while you are injured is not wise, and may even aggravate your injuries.
Do different laws apply to truck drivers?
There are certain federal laws that place stipulations on drivers and their employers. Your attorney will have in-depth knowledge of these laws, and this knowledge may prove invaluable.
Speak to a Texas Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If you have been involved in a semi-truck accident, your first port of call should be to involve an attorney that is experienced in truck accident cases. This will ensure that your earliest steps are the right ones and will protect your chances of winning your case.
Here at Abraham Watkins, we can help you pursue the compensation you deserve and hold those responsible for your injuries accountable.Call us today at 713-535-9319.
Schedule A Free Consultation Today.
If you have additional questions about your accident or injuries – or if you wish to speak to one of our attorneys about your legal options – please complete our online contact form or call our Houston law office at 888-261-8831 or 713-244-5486.
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